Commercial Project To Proceed After Gov’t Rejects Sun Hung Kai’s Lawsuit
HONG KONG – The attempt of Yeung Kin-man, one of the city’s wealthiest people, to compulsorily acquire the remaining space at the Yip Fat Factory Building in Kwun Tong within Kowloon East and turn it into an office and retail project is expected to proceed, reported Mingtiandi on Thursday evening (13 October, SGT).
This is after the Lands Tribunal rejected an appeal filed by Sun Hung Kai Properties against the permit for the compulsory sale, with the developer arguing that Yeung may change his mind and not proceed with an already approved plan to redevelop the building under the government’s plan to revitalise Kowloon East.
The developer also argued that Yeung should own at least 90 percent of the building as it is considered an industrial property as per the rules.
The Tribunal handed out its ruling on 11 October 2022. The body described Sun Hung Kai’s legal move as “delusional” and “vandalism” of the proposed redevelopment. Moreover, the Lands Tribunal explained that it ruled in favour of Yeung Kin-man as Sun Hung Kai’s argument that Yeung could change his mind over the redevelopment plans was purely speculation.
Moreover, the Tribunal pointed out that the property was rezoned from “Industrial” to “Other Specified Uses” since 2001, so Yeung only needs to own at least 80 percent of the property to initiate a compulsory sale.
Notably, Biel Crystal founder Yeung Kin-man has already purchased 84 percent of the Yip Fat Factory Building, while a unit of Sun Hung Kai Properties known as R4 (also called Pawling Ltd) currently owns 2.8 percent of the property as it owns two units at the building’s Block 1.
In June 2022, R4 filed a case with the Lands Tribunal in a bid to appeal a judgement earlier this year that approved the forced sale of the building at a reserve price of HK$2.3 billion (US$292 million).
The Lands Tribunal’s latest ruling enables Yeung to proceed with the compulsory sale of the portion he still doesn’t own in the Yip Fat Factory Building and amalgamate the property with neighbouring sites at 119 to 121 How Ming Street and 73 to 75 Hoi Yuen Road.
The planned office and retail development will have a gross floor area (GFA) of 294,560 sq ft. Development plans for the consolidated site were already greenlighted by the Town Planning Board in H1 2022.